Stars from the entertainment world have shared their anger after the UK government blocked Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill.
It is the first time the UK has exercised its right to block a parliamentary bill in Scotland from becoming law in the 25 years since devolution.
The Gender Recognition Reform Bill passed in Scotland in December, allowing people aged 16 to legally change their assigned gender. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described it as an “historic day for equality” and the new move to block it as a “full-frontal attack” on the Scottish parliament.
Scotland Secretary Alister Jack said when announcing the planned block of the bill: “I have decided to make an order under section 35 of the Scotland Act 1998, preventing the Scottish parliament’s Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill from proceeding to royal assent.
“After thorough and careful consideration of all the relevant advice and the policy implications, I am concerned that this legislation would have an adverse impact on the operation of Great Britain-wide equalities legislation.”
He added: “Transgender people who are going through the process to change their legal sex deserve our respect, support and understanding. My decision today is about the legislation’s consequences for the operation of GB-wide equalities protections and other reserved matters. I have not taken this decision lightly.”
In a statement posted to Twitter about the news, Sturgeon wrote: “This is a full-frontal attack on our democratically elected Scottish Parliament and it’s ability to make it’s own decisions on devolved matters.
“@scotgov will defend the legislation & stand up for Scotland’s Parliament. If this Westminster veto succeeds, it will be first of many.”
This is a full-frontal attack on our democratically elected Scottish Parliament and it’s ability to make it’s own decisions on devolved matters. @scotgov will defend the legislation & stand up for Scotland’s Parliament. If this Westminster veto succeeds, it will be first of many https://t.co/3WXrjyivvC
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) January 16, 2023
In a statement on their website, LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall responded: “Trans people are at high risk of experiencing hate crime. They wait years and years to get a first appointment with healthcare specialists that can support their transition. Trans children are bullied in our schools. Trans adults are bullied in their workplaces.
“The UK Government should be focused on developing and implementing a strategy that improves the lives of all LGBTQ+ people, including trans people, not causing them more harm.”
The statement added: “Despite being a small population, trans people live in every community in the UK. They are our classmates, our colleagues, our friends and our family. Yet today’s decision by the Prime Minister’s treats trans people as a threat to be contained, not citizens to be respected.”
We are saddened the PM has taken unprecedented steps to block implementation of the Scottish Gender Recognition Reform Bill.
These are not the actions of a government that can stand on the international stage as a defender of LGBTQ+ rights.
Our statement https://t.co/wOk2mTZ0lA
— Stonewall (@stonewalluk) January 16, 2023
Stars from the entertainment world have also shared their anger at the decision, with Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander writing: “quite amazing to think it was Theresa May who pledged to reform the GRA back in 2017 and now the same government is blocking any reforms. I’m not surprised to see the Tories completely abandon trans people – I don’t think they ever really cared.
“the GRA is outdated, it should be reformed – a UK public consultation in 2018 showed the majority of people agreed on this.”
the GRA is outdated, it should be reformed – a UK public consultation in 2018 showed the majority of people agreed on this.
— olly alexander (@alexander_olly) January 17, 2023
Anna Calvi added: “Fuck this.. the Tories try to distract us from the disintegration of the NHS and the cost of living crisis by attacking and scapegoating trans people. A dark day for democracy.”
“I don’t like the way she has been treated, actually,” Cox told Laura Kuenssberg. “Actually, I think she’s entitled to her opinion, she’s entitled to say what she feels, as a woman, she’s very much entitled to say what she feels about her own body.”
He added: “There’s nobody better to say as a woman. So I do feel that people have been a bit high and mighty about their attitude towards J.K. Rowling, quite frankly.”
“I don’t like the way she’s been treated”
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) January 15, 2023
See more reactions to the blocking of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill below.
When Scotland leaves the UK because the tories continue to fuel a nonsense moral panic based on hate – I shall apply for Scottish residency and live in the highlands with the Barr clan and change my name to Jimmy Barr
— James Barr (@imjamesbarr) January 17, 2023
Solidarity with our trans siblings in Scotland, whose six-year campaign for basic dignity for trans people has been blocked by the UK Government’s unprecedented intervention. This must be challenged. https://t.co/b1UbK5YbkP
— Mermaids (@Mermaids_Gender) January 17, 2023
The clash as it has always been is between trans rights only in form of self id and the rights of women to single sex spaces/care/sports etc. Many of us have been vilified for saying that this obvious clash exists. Amendments to the law could clarify this. Lets stop the denial.
— suzanne moore (@suzanne_moore) January 17, 2023
The Tories aren’t champions of human rights. They’re historic oppressors of minorities.
In the 1980s, they went for gay and bi people: today they’re going for trans people, while Scotland’s progressive parties are trying to defend a besieged and oppressed minority.
— Owen Jones (@OwenJones84) January 16, 2023
A truly appalling, backwards decision that should be opposed by everyone. It’s an affront to LGBTQ+ rights, but also to our entire democracy, Scotland, devolution and equality.
Trans rights are human rights. Trans women are women. Trans men are men. We won’t stop fighting. https://t.co/gCHWVxyN6I
— Hilary (@Hilary_W) January 16, 2023
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